Speaking from the capital, Beirut, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, at the conclusion of a two-day visit to the besieged Mediterranean country, described finding a shortage of “essential and essential medicines”.
although Who is the He did what he could to fill the gaps in healthcare there over the past 15 years, says WHO director-general. The situation had become “extremely dire” and this international support was needed immediately.
“It’s not just the coronavirus, almost all services are affected,” he said. “We visited two hospitals today… They told us that they have, patients, cancer patients or other patients, but there is a shortage of medicines and those who can’t afford not to access, they can’t get medicine, that means services are disrupted, and this is life, life, life and death “.
The unprecedented political and economic crisis in Lebanon was exacerbated by the COVID pandemic and the port explosion last August.
Lack of fuel and energy
Tedros said that when he went to meet with senior government officials, he cut their electricity.
Similar fuel shortages made hospitals run at 50 percent capacity, the Director-General of the World Health Organization said, adding that he agreed to send a team of health experts to Lebanon to provide technical support as soon as possible.
Tedros added that the UN health agency has also provided “first aid” assistance to the country’s medical sector.
This includes the purchase of essential medicines for nearly 450,000 patients with acute and chronic diseases last year and this year.
But Dr. Iman Al-Shankiti, the representative of the World Health Organization in Lebanon, told reporters that the number of cases is now increasing and that the demand is increasing for medicines to treat cancer patients, dialysis and emergency cases.
“At one point, we were able to support 2,000 pediatric cancer cases and we were able to support 17,000 people with catastrophic medicines, but that’s not enough.She said. I can’t say we’ve bridged the gap, we’ve closed the shortage. The needs are huge…you need a whole governmental approach (to solve the shortage).”
Regional risks of insecurity
While in Beirut, Tedros visited several health facilities, including the newly renovated Central Drug Depot that was destroyed by the Beirut Port explosion.
Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, and his companion highlighted the danger that threatens regional instability if the health sector in Lebanon is not supported.
He warned that the country is rapidly losing its long standing as a major provider of medical professionals, as its youngsters have left the country to seek work elsewhere.
Dr. Al-Mandhari said that Lebanon’s robust vaccination and immunization system is also under threat, noting that “it has provided protection to the children of Lebanon and all residents of Lebanon, helping us in the region and beyond to control infectious diseases such as polio, measles and other infectious diseases affecting adults and children. So If there is an interruption or weakness in this EPI in the country, it will certainly affect other countries in the region.”